The premium brand Mark Cross has an extensive and long history in the Franco-American region. Established by Boston in the year 1845. It was founded in 1845 by Henry W. Cross and named after his son, the business began its in the business of supplying high-end leather products to be used in equestrian sports. It was purchased in the latter part of the 19th century, by an employee Patrick Murphy, who transferred the company’s headquarters out of Boston and relocated it to New York City. The son of Murphy, Gerald along with his partner Sara who acquired the entire company in 1934, relocated themselves as well as their brand into Paris around 1920 which was where the brand quickly became a symbol of the American spirit. Unmistakable and effortless. It’s Gerald and Sara who are the main sources that inspire the brand’s new director of creative Rebeca Mendoza, who will work to bring the famous American brand to an entirely new generation.
Mendoza who was previously employed for labels that focused on New York, such as Proenza Schouler as well as Calvin Klein, as well as managing the company she owns, RYE label alongside her husband Ryan Clements, saw an opportunity to bring a new perspective on a label which was founded during the time of James K. Polk he was president, which was more than a decade earlier than that Civil War.
“Legacy brands don’t have to make a story because we have a story; we just need to tell about it and educate people about why it’s a luxury, why it’s worth it, and how much it’s worth,” Mendoza says to I on Zoom in the New York office. In her office is a color-swatch board which she calls”a “Mark Cross color wheel.” It’s a compilation of all the things that have been created and the direction you wish to go. In charge of navigating the fine boundary between preservation and experimentation, Mendoza is finding ways to adapt the brand’s formal, structured bags to the contemporary age.
When the Murphys relocated from Paris at the turn of 1921 in Paris, they became a fashionable group of writers and artists among them Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose famous Tender Is the Night was inspired by the Murphys.
“Every day was different,” Gerald Murphy said of the couple’s stay in Paris in the 1962 New Yorker profile. “There was a sense of tension and excitement which seemed almost physical. Every year, there is a new exhibit or a concert of fresh music or an Dada demonstration or the costume ball held in Montparnasse or the world premiere of a brand new play as well as ballet any of Etienne’s wonderful ‘Soirees of Paris’ at Beaumont in Montmartre. You could attend each and see everyone else too.”
Influenced by Picasso The couple decided to take the art of painting seriously, and Gerald showed his art in 1923 in the Salon des Independants to critical praise. In the meantime, Gerald and Sara continued to broaden their social circle within the literary and artistic cities’ minds. “The Murphys were among the first Americans I met,” wrote the composer Igor Stravinsky. “And they gave me the most pleasant impression of the United States.”
The couple in 1922 travelled with Porter into their destination on the French Riviera. Before, Cap d’Antibes was not thought of as a place to go for a vacation however, the couple persuaded the proprietors of the Hotel du Cap to keep it open despite its regular May 1 closing, helping in making the area an attractive tourist spot. . When they returned to the Riviera and eventually, they bought their own house, which they dubbed Villa America, where they hosted the most talented artists of the moment.
“His friend John Dos Passos, the American writer, said that people were the best version of themselves among the Murphys,” Mendoza declares, “which I think is the best compliment anyone can give someone.”
The world’s top fashion houses have made Paris their home “French girl” style is an image that many Americans want to emulate. However, Sara as well as Gerald Murphy’s distinctive American style was appreciated by their French friends.
“Picasso painted Sara a lot,” explains Mendoza. “Most of the drawings that you see by Picasso of women sporting pearls, particularly pearls on their backs are done by Sara. The first time we had a season, I decided to incorporate some of the pearl tale because I found her charming. Her pearls were worn on the beach , and she said it was “sunbathing with her pearls” and it also suggests she had an innate spirit of humor. She didn’t consider the luxurious lifestyle] too seriously.”
This relaxed attitude is what Mendoza is hoping to bring into his current image of Mark Cross. “Americans have this way of life and this way of interacting with luxury that is much more casual, which also feels right for where we are now,” Mendoza explains.
This implies recognizing iconic brands like Grace the box bag that was inspired by the case designed by Grace Kelly at Rear Window as well as finding ways to incorporate playful elements that will appeal to a younger and perhaps more adventurous client. For instance, with feathers, rhinestones or the introduction of exciting new colors. “Whatever is an icon, I’ll leave it at that,” she declares. “I’m not going to touch it. However, these icons can also be made available in colorful colors for those who enjoy this. I am among the few. It’s an American brand. We aren’t looking to be so integral to our history that we’re unable to push the needle forward.”
Mendoza says that Gerald’s frequent usage of his frequent use of Spanish phrase “Living well is the best revenge,” which was used in describing the wife’s sensitivity is a phrase that matches the modern time that is Mark Cross, a crown in a tale. It is a very itinerant character, with ocean liners. Repurchase, close, and move. “The more I learn about it, the more I see that the people who have made a mark on this company have done so very gracefully,” she declares. “The firm has not been in danger. It’s always been a premium brand. Although Mark Cross may not be an everyday household name as other high-end brands are, his impact should not be overlooked. “Every company I’ve ever worked for has always had Mark Cross in their vintage archive,” Mendoza explains. Mendoza.
Nowadays, the products are made by the exact identical Italian production facilities employed forty years ago. “We enjoy the benefit of being more eco-friendly. We don’t produce too much and we look at who we collaborate with, and then purchase and sell our produce” says the designer. “We get reports from the store of what’s out there, and we always see someone who brought their great-grandfather’s watch or their great-grandmother’s handbag.” It’s this tradition of luxury, authenticity and even the art of living that guided Mark Cross through the decades. “There’s an ad Mark Cross ran in the New York Times in the 1980s, which read, ‘Mark Cross”Here Today Tomorrow, Here Tomorrow that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s strong,” says Mendoza.